A chocolate Santa similar to this one was stolen from a storage locker owned by Chocolates by Bernard Callebaut in Guisachan Village mall.
A Grinch filched the metre-high, chocolate-filled Santa from a freezer earlier this month, and its owners are asking anyone who may be given a morsel to call police.
"A chocolate Santa like this stands out in September. If someone offers you a piece of Santa at this time of year, you'll remember that," said Duane Peters, who co-owns Chocolates by Bernard Callebaut in Guisachan
The store creates two or three of the 12-kilogram figurines for charity each year. An anonymous firefighter buys one annually to donate to a children's party for low-income kids. Peters sold one to Baths by Design last Christmas for $825, and donated the money to Kelowna Gospel Mission.
Over 20 years, the store has donated chocolate Santas to the B.C. Cancer Agency, the SPCA, the food bank and other organizations. The total value exceeds $130,000, Peters said.
"In my eyes, they stole from a charity," he said. "I think it was a lousy thing to do."
The thief broke into the underground parkade under the mall during Labour Day weekend. He or she somehow got into the storage lockers and found the statue and a smaller version of Santa in one of the store's freezers.
Peters intended to give the larger piece to the SPCA this year.
He discovered the theft only last week. He contacted the mall's landlord and RCMP now have a picture of the purloined bonbon. A Facebook posting has yet to yield any tips.
"I'll replace it, but it's at our expense," Peters said.
Each Santa requires the expertise of several craftsmen and takes five days to create. A craftsman hand-paints the mold and the two halves of the mold are fused together. Two kilograms of liquid chocolate are poured into the open bottom. The mold is spun and cooled for a day and the process is repeated several times.
The master chocolatier writes Chocalaterie Bernard Callebaut on Santa's belt. The store
starts displaying it in mid-November.